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Search for missing man with autism expands in Olean

“The search is extensive over a large area"
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Posted at 6:47 PM, May 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-05 20:56:01-04

OLEAN, N.Y. (WKBW) — The search for a missing man with autism has grown in Cattaraugus County.

Missing poster for Cole Geise, 22, of Olean.

Dozens of people are now scouring several miles of mountainous area in Olean for Cole Geise, 22. Cole's family has not seen him in days.

New York State Forest Rangers have now joined in on the search

“The search is extensive over a large area,” explained Wayne Krulish, NYS Forest Rangers.

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Wayne Krulish, NYS Forest Rangers.

More than 50 searches from several police and fire agencies are joining community members in the search.

He disappeared after leaving his house at 6 a.m. Sunday. Geise wasn't reported missing by his parents, who he lives with, until 10 p.m. Sunday.

Olean Police Captain Robert Blovski says Geise, who is autistic, has a daily routine of walking in Olean.

“What has the family told you about his daily routine?” Buckley asked.

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Olean Police Captain Robert Blovski.

“That he would get up early in the morning — go out and walk — go to a convenience store — near his home — he would walk,” replied Blovski.

But police say his family didn't see him leave the house Sunday morning.

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Crews conducting searches.

“If we knew he was at a certain locations at a certain time — we've looked at video where still doing that, but that's the hard part,” Blovski described.

Authorities have received some tips that he was spotted not too far from the Town of Olean Fire Department.

A hunter gave police a description that matched Geise’s in that area near the fire department.

A large area with mountain terrain is being searched.

The search is within a mile radius of where he was last spotted, but so far no clues or evidence have been recovered.

Forest Ranger Kurlish says there are search units of ten with a crew leader.

“In areas that are established on maps as being high probability areas and the areas are searched systematically in a grid like pattern and any time there are clues found they are investigation,” Kurlish explained.

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Member of a search crew.

But authorities say the search is more challenging because Geise is autistic.

“If we were to possibly see him, one thing we want to do is keep our eyes on him and call the family to approach him,” Blovski said.

Geise's mother Cassandra posted a video message on Facebook thanking everyone for helping with the search and offering this advise if someone sees her son.

Geise's mother Cassandra posted Facebook video message.

“Apparently people are seeing him and they're approaching him and he's running off and getting spooked — don’t approach him — immediately call police and keep him your eyes view,” Geise stated.

His mother also suggests if you see him, take a photo and if you do approach him, engage him by asking for help.

“Do not try to force grab him. Do not tell him people are looking for him and he needs to come home — I don't want him to feel like he's in trouble, Geise noted.

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City of Olean where Geise is often seen walking.

“He walks a lot so a lot of people are familiar with seeing him,” remarked Captain Blovski.

Authorities say so far, they do not believe any foul play is involved in Geise's disappearance.

“Every night goes by, you’re thinking he’s out in the cold — is he hurt and that’s why we're looking for anybody that may have seen him to call use,” Blvoski reflected.

Police tell 7 Eyewitness News Geise does not work and prefers to be alone.